Take Your Shot


If you were to walk into my home office, you'd see a lot of what you might expect to see from a quirky career marketer and life-long learner.


My laptop and monitor, of course. Mementos, souvenirs, and "tombstones" from past initiatives I've led. Signed memorabilia from celebrities I've met. Framed degrees and certifications. Motivational signs. Lots and lots of books.


But there's one prominent item that would seem very out-of-place for those that know me well.


Hung on my wall, near the entrance to my office, is a framed canvas depicting the "spectacular Game Seven Buzzer-Beater" shot that Kawai Leonard took one year and ten days ago (on May 12, 2019) while playing for the Toronto Raptors against the Philadelphia 76'ers. That basket led to a Raptors victory, which sent them to the Eastern Conference final. And after winning the Eastern Conference championship, the Raptors went on to win the NBA Championship, the first in the franchise's history.


Here's why this particular item is unusual in my office: I don't follow basketball.


Not even a little bit.


I don't follow any sports, actually. I played a few in high-school, most of them badly, but I always preferred watching movies to watching athletic competitions. The exception is the Super Bowl, but I watch that almost entirely for the ads.


So why would I have a massive, 25" x 36" framed picture of a basketball moment hung in my office?


There are two reasons.


The less-important reason is that this large, framed image was given to me by a client as a thank-you gift. The client, a Fortune 100 company, was hosting a number of their clients for an eCommerce summit, and I was asked to give a keynote presentation on how omnichannel retailers can win with consumers. After the summit, all attendees and presenters were invited to attend dinner and watch a Raptors game. (Not THAT Raptors game, mind you, but still a terrific experience in a swanky Scotiabank Arena corporate suite.) Hanging on the wall of that suite was this historic image, and my client thought a copy of it would make an appropriate memento for all of the presenters; it was shipped to my home as a surprise a few days later. My framed canvas is identical to the one pictured above, except the one hanging on my wall has my client's corporate logo to the left of the plaque describing the image.


That's a pretty good reason, right? But it's not the most important one. After all, 25x36 is a lot of real-estate in my modestly-sized office, and I could have sold this thing on eBay for a few hundred dollars.


The most important reason this image hangs on my office wall is to remind me every day of a very simple directive.


Take your shot.


If you clicked the link above to watch Leonard make those spectacular two points, you might have noticed that he begins charging towards the basket with just 4.2 seconds left in the game. Those are next-to-impossible odds. But Leonard took his shot, and the rest is history.


I'm not saying that every shot you take is going to win you the game.


I'm saying that the ball doesn't have a chance to get in the basket if it remains in your hands.


I had never been a consultant before... until I agreed to my first consulting assignment in 2016. After that, I was a consultant.


I had never taught a university course before... until the day I taught my first MBA class in early 2017. After that, I was a university instructor.


I had never focused on creating content before my first newsletter went out earlier this year. After that, I was a content-creator.


If there's something you've been nervous to try for fear of failing, print out this photo and put it beside your desk.


Then take your shot.


- dp


P.S. I don't particularly like watching sports, but I love immersing myself in great stories. So after all the rave reviews, I plan to binge-watch The Last Dance this weekend. Let me know if you think that will be time well-spent.